Washington: The Obama administration has asked Pakistan to "put forward" its "national funds" to buy the eight F-16 fighter jets as some top American Senators have put a hold on use of the US tax payers' money for this purpose.
"While Congress has approved the sale, key members have made clear that they object to using FMF (foreign military financing) to support it. Given Congressional objections, we have told the Pakistanis that they should put forward national funds for that purpose," US State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters at his daily news conference yesterday.
Kirby, however, did not say when this decision was taken and when was it communicated to Pakistan. On February 11, the State Department had informed the Congress about its determination for selling eight the fighter jets to Pakistan at an estimated cost of USD 700 million.
The move was opposed by the Indian government as it summoned the US Ambassador to India, Richard Verma, to lodge its protest. Here in the US, top American lawmakers led by Senator Bob Corker, Chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, put a hold on the sale arguing that it would not let the Obama administration use tax payers' money for sale of the fighter jets to Pakistan given that Islamabad was not taking enough action against terrorist organisations, in particular the Haqqani network, and there was continued existence of terrorist safe havens inside its territory.
Several Indian American organisations reached out to lawmakers expressing their concern over such a sale, which they argued is nothing but rewarding a bad actor. Last week, top American lawmakers during a Congressional hearing openly told the Obama administration that they feared Pakistan would be using these F-16 fighter jets against India and not against terrorists.
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